Friday, July 02, 2004

Colonial Apothecaries Practiced Herbalism

Colonial apothecary
Colonial apothecary, originally uploaded by mharrsch.
According to the Wellness Directory of Minnesota: "Herbalism reached its first major peak in Europe in 1652 when Dr Nicolas Culpeper published his book, The English Physician, filled with some 300 herbs, drawings, and their medicinal uses. He is considered by many, to be the father of alternative medicine."

It goes on to say: "When the colonists befriended the natives, their "medicine cabinets" so to say, expanded with new herbal remedies the natives brought them from their new land.

In his book, Divided Legacy, Dr Harris L Coulter describes this "second doctrine" (there were 4 competing theories of medicine in the first half of the 1800s) as the "Indian Doctors." Even though many of the arriving colonists had brought their herbal medicines with them (and seeds to grow more), the main herbal movement in this country were some of the new herbals introduced to the colonists by the natives."

These "botanics" eventually joined with a new group called the Thompsonians (I wonder if they were any relation? :-) to form the Eclectic Medicine movement.

"Thompsonians were named after the physician Samuel Thompson who left behind his orthodox practice to develop a much simpler theory based upon steam baths and the Indian remedy: lobelia."

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